using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : May 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2012 38 present moment: the hungry need food, the sick need medicine, and they need it right now. “You need to study scriptures more and work to become enlight- ened,” continued her teacher. “After you are enlightened, you will be able to save countless beings.” The idea was that if she practiced Buddhism diligently, she would be reborn as a man in her next life; then she might become a bodhisattva, and later still a buddha with miraculous powers. But again Chan Khong felt alienated by these goals. She didn’t want miraculous powers or to be a man, and to her this enlightenment smacked of both sexism and irrelevance. In the autumn of 1959, Chan Khong had a conversation with a prominent Buddhist monk during which she asked many questions about the dharma. But he didn’t answer any of them. Instead, for each question he took out a book by Thich Nhat Hanh—a monk who Chan Khong had never heard of—and said, “The answer to your question is in here.” Chan Khong would have preferred talking to the monk in front of her, but she agreed to read the material when she had time. Then a month later, Chan Khong attended a course Nhat Hanh was teaching in Sai- gon. Impressed from the first lecture, she felt she’d never before heard anyone speak so beautifully and profoundly. The following year, Chan Khong began corresponding with Nhat Hanh. In his first note, he wrote in his impeccable script about the mountain monastery where he lived—the wet wood he cooked with and the cold, singing wind outside. In later notes he addressed Chan Khong’s concern that most Buddhists didn’t seem to care about the poor and that they viewed social work as mere merit work. According to Nhat Hanh, it was possible to find enlighten- ment helping those in need—or doing any other activity—as long as it was done mindfully. He believed that Buddhism had a great deal to contribute to society, and he promised to support Chan Khong in her efforts. He planned to bring together people with the same vision and to establish villages to serve as models for development, as well as founding training centers for workers in education, agriculture, and health care. Thich Nhat Hanh was the teacher she had been looking for. Inspired by his teachings and encouragement, Chan Khong organized seventy friends to help her in Saigon’s slums, and they did such work as taking the sick to hospital, establishing adult literacy classes, and on special occasions treating underprivi- leged children to new clothes, a meal at a restaurant, and a trip to the zoo. At the same time, Chan Khong continued to study the dharma with Nhat Hanh. From May to September 1961, she and a dozen others took a class with him and they became the “thirteen cedars,” a sangha devoted to social change. Meanwhile, the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in South Vietnam was warming up for a religious crackdown in which they’d try to squelch Buddhism and convert the population to Catholicism. The situation came to a head when the regime forbade display- ing the Buddhist flag and celebrating Wesak, the Buddha’s birth- day. Peaceful protests sprang up and were met with a violent backlash. The authorities ordered tanks to advance on demon- strators, and tortured suspected protest instigators. In the face of this oppression, a monk named Thich Quang Duc made a powerful plea for religious freedom; on June 11, PHOTOSCOURTESYOFPARALLAXPRESSANDSISTERCHANKHONG Chan Khong with her mother at Plum Village Chan Khong during the first year at Plum Village “People think that engaged Buddhism is only social work, only stopping the war. But, in fact, at the same time you stop the war outside, you have to stop the war inside yourself.”